Stand up to good posture
Do you have a recurring kink in your neck? Perhaps a persistent back pain or periodic tingling in your toes? Not having good posture could be to blame for these and other health ailments large and small. These tips and insights can help you check your stance and help make sure your posture is working for your health, not against it.
Here are some tips to help you check and improve your posture when sitting, standing and even lying down.
- Sit with your feet squarely on the floor or on a footrest, thighs parallel to the floor, with a little space between the seat and the back of your knees. Stretch your head and neck toward the ceiling. Support your lower and middle back against the chair back, a pillow or a rolled towel.
- Stand with your head level, your shoulders back and your stomach gently tucked in. Focus your weight on the balls of your feet and keep your knees slightly bent.
- Sleep on your side or back. Use a pillow between your knees (side sleepers) or under your knees (back sleepers). Choose a mattress that’s comfortable for your back.
In general, your body should be somewhat relaxed, not stiff or tight. If you have to stand or sit for extended periods, shift your position now and then.
It’s easy to let your posture slide when your mind is on other things. So it’s a good idea to check your pose periodically throughout the day, for instance by viewing your profile in a mirror. You can also try this simple test:
- Stand with your back against a wall, your head, shoulders and buttocks touching the wall, your heels 2 to 4 inches away from it. You should be able to fit your flat hand between your lower back and the wall. If you feel a lot of space between the wall and your back, draw your bellybutton in toward your spine to flatten the curve in your lower back. If it’s a little hard to slide your hand into the gap, add a slight arch to your back. As you walk away from the wall, try to maintain your posture.
If you’re finding it hard to maintain proper posture, work on strengthening your core muscles and increasing flexibility. Even low-impact exercise like tai chi or yoga can help. You may also want to work with a chiropractor, who can help properly align your spine and give you personal advice for maintaining it.
You can use your CareCredit credit card to pay for chiropractic care at participating practices. Use our Acceptance Locator or download the CareCredit Mobile App to find a chiropractor near you who accepts CareCredit.